Tag: Body Clock

Celebrities who regret dieting

Celebrities who regret dieting

Celebrities who regret dieting



Jennifer Lawrence picture by Gage Skidmore

by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team

Even though strides have been made in the body-positive movement, we still live, by and large, in a diet-happy culture. Women’s websites and magazines try to promote body positivity, but they also publish news about the latest fad diets with annoying regularity. Both types of articles must be popular with audiences or they wouldn’t publish them, and I think that says a lot about us as women. We want to embrace body positivity, yet we’re still stuck thinking we have to be a size 6 (or what-have-you) to be “perfect.” Those who are older can remember when it was even worse: The body-positive movement wasn’t even a thing, so we lived in a world where bigger bodies were never celebrated in magazines or TV, not even a little. All of us –regardless of age — have been subtly brainwashed for years to think diets make us healthier and prettier, but the truth is health does not come from weight and all sizes are beautiful. Celebrities face even more pressure to look thin, but now more and more are speaking out about not dieting. Their voices are important because they have the reach to influence the most vulnerable.

Emma Thompson is one who is speaking out. In a recent interview with the Guardian she said, “Dieting screwed up my metabolism, and it messed with my head. I’ve fought with that multimillion-pound industry all my life, but I wish I’d had more knowledge before I started swallowing their crap. I regret ever going on one.”

Kate Upton has likely experienced even more pressure than Thompson, as a model. But she has said she’s refused to starve herself to become more commercial.

“I still want to hang out with my family and be a normal girl. You have to be confident, and that doesn’t mean starving yourself.”

Jennifer Lawrence, who had been pressured by Hollywood in the past to lose weight, told Vanity Fair that she simply cannot work without food, that she needs the energy it gives her for the day. “Dieting is just not in the cards for me.”

And that’s a great way to think about food – as something that provides you with energy, as fuel. That takes the emotion out of it. It’s not good; it’s not bad; it’s not a reward for doing well at work or a treat “just because.” Food is there so you can get through your day – so you can enjoy yoga class, so you can finish up those last-minute assignments your boss asks you to do, so you can play with your kids! And while all foods fit, you will likely want to choose foods that stay with you throughout the day, that give you nourishment so you can lead your life.

I’ve said this before, but I want us to get to a place where we go back to the original definition of diet (from all the way back in the 13th century!). It originally meant “habitual nourishment” and that’s what it should mean now. That means you take the time to listen to your body throughout the day and feed it regularly, being prepared for “hungry” moments with cheese sticks, Cliff Z bars, or similar snacks that’ll keep you going. And the snack does not always have to be a “healthy” one. Gone are the days of deprivation or treating food as the enemy.

You might think because I have a popular diet book out that I am pro-dieting, but I think of the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet as the anti-diet. Unlike traditional dieting, my book encourages you to consider your body’s needs and not your need to see a certain number on the scale. All foods fit, so have the ones you like (including cookies!) The goal is to create a whole new relationship with food and unlearn harmful messages you may have been taught in the past. It helps you avoid emotional eating and understand when your body actually is hungry (which can be quite difficult, as so many of us are used to mindless eating in front of the TV!). And the best part is once you understand how mindfulness in eating works, you can pass the wisdom onto your kids, helping them have a healthy relationship with food right from the beginning. (If you’re wondering what you can say to your child to promote mindfulness and healthy eating with your kids, check out this blog post.)

You may have spent a lifetime learning and internalizing destructive thoughts about food, so don’t expect it to turn around in a day. I hope you will look to the anti-diet celebrities and to my anti-diet book for some encouragement.


The Truth about the BMI

The Truth about the BMI

The Truth about the BMI

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN, Whole Nutrition Services


BMI is a term you might have heard of — through either your doctor or a health article or maybe even your child’s teacher. If you don’t know what it is, the initials stand for Body Mass Index, and it is determined by making a calculation using your height and weight. The BMI categories are Underweight (any BMI less than 18.5), Normal (18.5-24.9), Overweight (25-29.9) and Obese (30 or more). These categories are taken very seriously by some in the medical community. The Harvard School of Medicine believes that measuring BMI can tell you if a person is at a “healthy weight,” while WebMD says “it’s important for your health to understand what it is and to know your number.”  Yet Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania researchers believe it does not accurately measure body fat content, or consider attributes like muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, race and gender. The BBC says that by itself, BMI can’t predict what diseases we will or won’t get.

I believe the BMI can be both misleading and quite damaging. This is something I speak about at length in the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet and my former blogs at Mom Dishes It Out and Laura Cipullo LLC. I certainly do not use it to measure my own, my clients’ or my children’s health.

The BMI reduces poor health to being caused by just one issue – weight. With its’ categories, it clumps bodies to fit into “healthy” and “not healthy” boxes when the science doesn’t always back that up. These categories can lead you to assume that everything above a 24.9 is a problem. But this is not proven. In adults, only BMI measurements of more than 35 or less than 18.5 are affiliated with higher mortality. In fact, as TIME points out,  “some studies show that people with higher BMI tend to be healthier and have lower premature death rates than those with lower BMI.” Overweight and healthy are not mutually exclusive categories. It is entirely possible to be both. And it is possible to be thin and unhealthy. Researchers from Oxford Brookes University discovered that more than a third of 3,000 people who were measured as having a “normal, healthy” BMI were potentially likely to have cardiovascular disease, something you might think only affects those who are overweight. Athletes also may naturally have a higher BMI, and even the CDC admits that it is not sure the overall BMI requirements should extend to them. The CDC’s list of health consequences associated with a high BMI also do not necessarily apply to everyone whose BMI is higher than 30: Mental illness, certain types of cancer, and low quality of life are a few of the things a person with a high BMI is supposedly at risk of, but I’m sure there are plenty of folks in this category who are living and will continue to live happy, healthy lives with BMIs over 30, and many affected by those issues who have a “normal” BMI.

You can see, then, how taking the BMI as gospel could lead you down a dangerous road. Your health choices are your own, but I would personally not see a healthcare professional who uses the BMI as a health tool.

Health is a complicated thing, and it’s not something that can always be relegated to numbers. We have to see the bigger picture, and that’s what the Health at Every Size movement is all about. BMIs can make a person obsessed with numbers, which is such a terrible thing to do to folks who already feel biased against for being a certain weight. People with eating disorders fight daily with an obsession to hit a certain number on a scale, and an obsession with hitting a BMI can lead to similar negative consequences. Dieting to get to a lower BMI can be physically dangerous as well. As I mentioned in the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, “The famed Framingham Heart Study showed that weight cycling (aka yo-yoing) as a result of restrictive dieting is something that is indeed associated with higher mortality and cardiac disease. It’s actually healthier to be at a higher set weight than to allow your weight to fluctuate up and down by 20 pounds.” Putting pressure on your child to be at a certain BMI can set them up for an unhealthy relationship with food for life. Remember that as a parent you are a role model. Don’t put your child on any kind of fad diet in an effort to achieve any arbitrary weight goals. Body dissatisfaction, body shaming and eating disorders are some of the things a focus on BMI can do to kids.

That being said, you should know that there is a chance your child will get screened for BMI in school. One agency – the Institute of Medicine – endorses that, but others – including the CDC– do not. New York, Arkansas and California are some of the states that do BMI screening for children in schools. BMIs are also part of the FitnessGram. If your child does bring the results of a BMI screening from school, consider asking your child if they have any questions about this screening. Whatever you do, don’t place urgency on it and restrict your child. Be curious. Ask yourself questions such as, Is my child active on a daily basis? Does my child eat in respect to his/her body? Does my child eat all foods without guilt? Does my child hide their food? This is not a question of how many veggies are they eating. Rather, is your child getting caught up in using food or restricting food for emotional reasons? Any concern you have about your child’s health should be discussed with your pediatrician and/or registered dietitian specializing in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders or HAES. And always remember, choose healthcare professionals who share the same All Foods Fit, All Bodies Fit value system you do.




A Year in Review

A Year in Review

A Year in Review


  Picture courtesy Wynand van  Niekerk at freeimages.com                                                                                                                                       

by Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

Want the scoop on Lisa and Laura’s nutrition perspective? Below are some highlighted press pieces to get a flavor of our nutrition palate.  From nutrition recommendations and recipes to information about our new book and the January 2017 yoga retreat.

Laura and Lisa’s New Diabetes Book

On March 22nd, Robert Rose will release our new book, Everyday Diabetes Meals — Cooking for One or Two. (Pre-order here.) Living with diabetes is made easier with recipes for the single-serve lifestyle. Diabetes-friendly recipes are all for one or two, including options such as Blueberry Yogurt Scones and Beef Tacos. In this book, we’ve got you eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that will please your taste buds and help balance blood sugar, with carbohydrate contents ranging 45- 60 grams per meal. Get a preview here. Publishers Weekly featured our book as a Spring title to look out for. Lisa and I worked so hard on this book and really hope it is a life-changer! Share your experience on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #EverydayDiabetes.

Lisa Mikus, RD, in the Media

Our own RD, Lisa Mikus, was on tap as nutrition expert for Vitamin Shoppe’s What’s Good site, Women’s Health magazine, Eat This Not That, Self magazine and more. Pick up a copy of Women’s Running magazine in January 2017 issue to read about Lisa’s nutrition recommendations!

Very proud to be sharing my practice with such an awesome RD and author!! #Grateful

Read more about her go-to breakfast and holiday food swap on the Vitamin Shoppe’s What’s Good site. She also shared her pre-workout snack on AOL, gut-friendly snacks at Spark People and favorite kitchen gadget on Self.

Get a Taste for the L’ifestyle

Read my advice for balancing blood sugar, preventing weight-loss traps, rethinking rewards and punishments, avoiding yo-yo dieting, and getting your youngsters into yoga. And check out my appearances on Powerwomen TV, talking about my nutrition philosophies (scroll to the Essie episode in the second row), and the Jenna Wolfe Show, where I talked about stress.

This Mom is Dishing It Out in NJ again

What’s on the horizon for 2017? The opening of my L’ifestyle Lounge, which you can read all about right here on my blog. Look for it in February.


From January 25-29, I will be leading a retreat with wellness coordinator Ali Quinn in Bequia. I believe it will give you essential tools  — in terms of mindfulness and stress reduction — as you embark on the coming year. Not to mention how beautiful Bequia is as a vacation destination. You can learn more about the retreat here, on Yoga Digest (which profiled my retreat as one of their top choices for Best Yogi Destinations in 2017), in Shape (which called us a best retreat), and on The Observer, which highlighted it as “a yoga retreat that’s all about getting your body and mind right for the new year. ” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Holly LoRusso, RD, is on maternity leave until March 2017. Congrats, Holly, on motherhood!

Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family.  Thank you for joining Lisa, Holly and me on the L’ifestyle journey.


Self-Care Sunday: Why Women’s Health Magazines are Changing Their Tune

Self-Care Sunday: Why Women’s Health Magazines are Changing Their Tune

Self-Care Sunday: Why Women’s Health Magazines are Changing Their Tune


Image via FreeImages.com/Alen Stojanac

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Every month, women read magazines to learn how to eat healthy and see what the most effective and fun workouts are. What they don’t look for — but frequently find anyway — are articles that make them feel bad about themselves, articles that pressure them to fit a narrow and false standard of beauty.

In late December, Women’s Health magazine — the magazine I created the Body Clock Diet for — decided to stop using the phrases “bikini body” and “drop two sizes” in their publication.

Amy Keller Laird, Women’s Health magazine editor-in-chief, took this step after reviewing the responses of a reader survey which revealed that those two phrases had to go and that women could relate better to adjectives like “toned,” “strong” and “sexy.” Laird went even further by acknowledging that “drop two sizes” was a phrase that, if followed, could lead to negative consequences:

“Yes, it’s true that many of us are looking to drop a few pounds—surveys and studies prove as much. But two sizes in one month? Not super practical, or even all that healthy.”

Laird told racked.com that this move “marks an evolution in the way women are thinking about health and fitness — that being healthy shouldn’t only, or even mostly, be judged based on size.”

I was so thrilled when I heard Women’s Health magazine was making this decision, and it made me even prouder to be associated with them. It seems like such a simple concept to understand — that the size of a woman’s body does not correspond to how healthy or unhealthy she is — but it’s one that a huge majority of the public and the media have trouble understanding.

(For more about this myth and how inaccurate it is, see this blog post by neuroscientist and science writer Sandra Amodt.)

The myth, perpetrated by so many in the medical community, says that low weight equals health, so the public believes it, and the public then buys magazines that promote that because they want to learn how to be “healthy.” And then those magazines make women feel even worse about themselves, and on and on in a vicious cycle. It only leads to self-hatred and that isn’t helping women get healthier. But the audience for Women’s Health magazine is smart, and because they spoke up, and because Laird listened, Women’s Health is now part of a body-positive revolution that has spread throughout women’s media, at sites like Fit Bottomed Girls and Yahoo Health.

The article at Racked noted how the website Fit Bottomed Girls was developed to counteract the negative messages dished out by other women’s magazines.

“No one at the time was over-the-top saying to women, ‘You are more than the number on the scale,’” Jennipher Walters, a co-founder of Fit Bottomed Girls told the site. “We wanted to be that voice and we wanted to make being healthy and being fit not something that was born out of a need to change or that it has to be terrible and full of deprivation and you have to diet. Basically, it was like, you can’t hate yourself healthy.”

Racked also quoted Yahoo Health editor in chief Michele Promaulayko as saying she tries not to include the word “skinny” in her site’s articles.

Well + Good is another site that doesn’t aim to make its readers feel bad. Their founder, Alexia Brue, sees weight loss as “a by-product but certainly not the goal. It was nothing that we wanted to talk about because feeling great and feeling alive and feeling healthy — that’s exciting. It didn’t seem like a good way to do it, saying that we work out because we want to lose weight. We work out because places like SoulCycle made working out really fun,” she told Racked.

How can you be a part of this body-positive revolution? Make your voice heard. When a magazine does something right in the name of body-positivity, applaud them for it, whether on social media or in an email. And when they don’t, make your voice heard with your wallet. Don’t buy their magazine. Don’t subscribe online. Don’t click on their articles. Ultimately, magazines listen to their readers and if more readers demand body-positivity, more magazines are going to start coming on board.

Mindfulness Monday: How to Eat an Oreo

Mindfulness Monday: How to Eat an Oreo

Mindfulness Monday: How to Eat an Oreo


image via Celine Gros/FreeImages.com

 By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Chapter 8 of The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet is called “Skill Builder: How to Eat an Oreo.” You might wonder why a diet book would include a chapter on eating what you might consider “junk food,” but the exercise is all about establishing a healthier relationship with food. It also allows you to fully embrace my All Foods Fit philosophy — meaning no food is off-limits or to be labeled as junk food.

An Oreo is the kind of food you may feel you have no control over. You might eat a dozen of them in one sitting, despite only originally planning to eat one. It’s not your fault. Food manufacturers have made their products to be seemingly “addictive” and tantalizing.

So, how do you handle this? One way is to eat a satiating food (example, chicken or hummus sandwich) before, with or after the food that is more difficult to portion.

The next way is to practice mindfully eating the challenging food.

The full three-step process can be found in The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, but here is a brief overview of “How to Eat an Oreo” or whatever your food of choice is.

1) Relax and Breathe

Choose your food, be it a cookie, piece of candy or potato chip. Only choose one. If it’s a food you believe you have no “control over,” eat it with a meal and not as a stand alone snack. Set the table. Sit at the table with your feet on the floor. Put a napkin on your lap. Take a deep breath, allowing your shoulders to rise and fall with the breath.

2) Do a Body Scan

This is an exercise for you to connect with your body’s energy and perhaps even use helpful imagery. Here is a shortened version to start with.

Bring attention to your feet and imagine yourself as a reed in a field. Grounded into the earth but flexible with the wind. As you continue the exercise, notice the sensations in your calves, knees, thighs, abdomen, back and up until your shoulders. Imagine you are under a waterfall. As the water pours over your shoulders, and arms, just notice. Observe your breathing, your chest and belly rising and falling. Notice your scalp, you jaw and your eyes. Notice and breathe.

The body scan can be much more holistic and relieving. The full version is available in my book the Women’s Health Body Clock. Take your time. There is no right or wrong. You can fully benefit from this powerful tool.

3) Engage All Senses

We have five senses, but so rarely make use of all of them. Here is how to use them effectively during the mindful exercise.

Sight — Look at the food, but refrain from touching at first. What does it mean to you or remind you of?

Sound — Yes, food makes a sound, or if there is no sound, then note that lack of sound, but just be aware. What sound does it remind you of?

Touch — What does it feel like beneath your fingers? Crumbly? Squishy? Melty? How is your body reacting to the feel of the food? Is your heart rate going up?

Smell — Put your nose to the food. What does it smell like and what, if any, memories do you associate with that smell? Also note your body’s reaction again. Is your heart rate higher? Are you salivating?

Taste — Take a small one. Notice heart rate, breathing, salivation, body tightness and relaxation. Is the food meeting your taste expectations? Move the food around your mouth. Does that change the way it tastes? How do you eat your food? Do you chew it well or not?

Swallow, breathe, get in tune with your body. Notice remnants of food, if any, and remaining food flavor. Breathe and repeat the exercise a few times.

Finish the food, save it or throw away.

That is, in brief, a mindful eating experience. When you do it often enough, you will be less likely to fall into a cycle of emotional or behavioral eating. You may even discover that a food you thought you loved is one that no longer brings you joy. This happened to me while mindfully eating M&Ms. You may discover that you eat a certain food more as a habit than anything else. The revelations you have while mindfully eating may astound you, and that’s part of the point of the exercise.

So next time you are ready to eat an Oreo, or an M&M, or any similar food, try eating it mindfully, and see what you discover and how it changes your eating habits in the future.

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